Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Fascinating Fridays (Royal Palaces)

There are seven nations in the world who are currently reigning constitutional monarchies. In a former Fascinating Friday we discussed their flags and rulers. Today we will have a short post on the seven main Royal palaces which also serve as official residence for each country's reighning monarch and his/her direct family. A note of interest is that a building is only refered to as a palace when it is the official seat of power. So technically only the residence of a head of state or a spiritual head may be and indeed should be, called a palace. The following buildings are all palaces even if they are castles by designation.

Let us begin with the youngest monarchy based on its very recent restoration, namely Syldavia. The home of its King Nikolas is called Ploch Palace and it is situated a few kilometers outside the capital city. It is surrounded by a large natural forest and an informal indigenous garden. The palace was kept as a museum during the republic but was fully restored to a working liveable palace for the use of the King. The palace is open to the public at scheduled times when the King and his family are not in residence.

Ploch Palace built in 1810 in the Neo-Gothic Style.

Next up we have the official residence of Queen Gloria I of Normandia. Isrik Palace was built at the height of Neo-Classisim in 1750. Its name means "Icy Realm" alluding to the cold winters of this nothern Kingdom. The Palace is symmetric in design and strongly alludes to ancient Roman Architecture as is the norm with this style. The Palace also has the stark presence of a government building at the front facade and it is devoid of any ostentatious decorations. The back however at least opens up to vast gardens.

The very clinical facade of Isrik Palace.

We travel to the west to the semi-arctic Islands of Arcwhite. The palace of Lady Arcwhite is called Arcwhite Tower and it isn't much more than a palacial tower. It is considered to be the smallest of all the Royal residences which stand in contrast to the fact that its occupant is the ruler with the most executive power of all reigning monarchs. The tower seems to be built to complement its natural surroundings and evokes an overwhelming fairyland atmosphere which becomes most evident in winter.

Arcwhite Tower at its most magical in the dead of winter.

In the Principality of Swann we find one of the largest and also the most decorative palaces in the world. The official residence of the Duke of Swann is called Duke's Court Palace and although originally a Baroque Era building has been much altered over the centuries. The domes are covered with a microscopic layer of pure gold and the walls are made of pink marble. This Royal residence truly gives meaning to the word palace. It is also regularly open to the public and exhibits of the art collections of the Duke are often displayed.

Duke's Court seen from the square in the old part of the capital city. When the monarch is not in residence there are no flags flying from the domes.

Duke's Court seen from the gardens at the back of the palace.

The Duke of Swann's cousin, the Grand Duke of Hanoveria lives in what is known plainly as the Palace Royal. It is situated in the heart of the capital city and like its monarchy, is a straight forward palace. It is large yet unassuming, imposing yet plain. The palace serves as the home of the Royal Family but also as the government offices. Thus this palace is not open to the public and contains no museum section or major art collection. It is purely functional. Don't get me wrong however, the state apartments are appropriately grand to serve as venues for state banquets and for hosting visiting heads of government.

The Palace Royal of Hanoveria.

Wallachia is a land of old customs and legends. Its seems to thus be almost poetic that we find the oldest official Royal residence here. The medieval Castle of Hunedoar has served the Wallachian family for hundreds of years. It was built by an ancestor of the current Princess in 1333 on the spot where legend claims the last dragon in Europa was slain. Even the date that the foundation stone was layed was chosen for its mystical connection to God. The Castle has seen many wars, just plain wear and thus also many repairs over the centuries but its original design has always been respected and never compromised. The Wallachian Royal Family choose to keep this castle as their official seat even though it is several hours from the capital. They do however for practicality keep apartments within the Palace of Parlaiment in the City.

It is clear how old the Wallachian Royal Castle is but it has most certainly been well taken care of by a loving nation.

Finally we move to the Kingdom of Hispania. After the Revolution of 1996, the Hispanian Royal Family official moved the court from their official Palace in the capital city to a remote castle. This was done for security but was also influenced by the severe fear felt by the Princess of Cataljone, the mother of the very young Queen. The Princess kept her two daughters completely isolated from public scrutiny for years as they grew into adulthood. The Castle of Trono de Seguro thus became the home of the new generation of Royals and has remained the official residence even though Queen Maria lives in the old palace in the city when required.

The impenetrable Castillo Trono De Seguro sits perched on a hill. Its isolation and defensibility served to sooth the fears of the Hispanian Royal Family and will always be home to its current Queen.

Which Palace is your favourite??

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

"To be or not to be" Thursday (Infanta Isabella of Hispania)

There is a very special group of Royals in my opinion. They are the ones who are high ranked enough to wield significant power yet are not the ruling monarch themselves. These tend to also show genuine practicality and humility due to the fact that they do not sit on the throne. Often these members of Royal families get very hands-on with charity work which ends up with them investing their lives in the service of their family, country and chosen charity organizations. One such a figure is the younger sister of the current Queen of Hispania. She is, Her Royal Highness Princess Isabella of Hispania, Duchess of Toledo.

The Princess or Infanta as the title is called in her native country, was born in 1980. Life at the Hispanian court was like most of the country and its culture, a paradox. The Hispanian court was lavishly opulent but the traditions of the Royal family were regimented and spartan. they had access to and the use of great wealth but were taught that it was not theirs to dispose of as they wish. This, along with a nurtured devotion to God and church was also a non-negotiable for a Hispanian Royal. During this time before the 96 Revolution, Infanta Isabella was the second daughter of the heir to the Hispanian throne, the Prince of Catalone. He and his mother, the reigning Queen Isabella II both lost their lives in the Roswind Castle missile attack of the Bloody Revolution. This obviously sent the world, Hispania and Isabella's family reeling with shock.

Aside from the personal and emotional consequences the family had to bear from this tragedy, there were also political consequences and Royal duty that came down on the bereaved family. For all intents and purposes, even with the support of an entire nation, the Princess of Cataljone was now a widow and single mother. Where she was raising a happy family with a loving husband she was also putting in all remaining energy in preparing herself to support her husband as his Queen one day. Now along with the loss of loved ones even her Royal duty was stripped away. One might say it was a blessing in disguise as she could now devote herself entirely to her daughters while the nation was governed by an Interim Council representing the young Queen Maria, Isabella's sister. The Infanta seemed to recover quickely from the loss of her father and grandmother and she became her mother's strength and inspiration. She did also test her mother's faith and patience as she wanted to break the confines of fear that had settled on them.

The imposing Castillo Trono De Seguro was the childhood home of Infanta Isabella and remains the official residence of the Hispanian Royal Family.

For security the family moved to the remote Catillo Trone De Seguro where the teenage children were raised in veritable complete isolation behind the high walls of this Royal castle. There the girls allowed to play with children of the staff allowing for some form of normality. A famous anecdote from this time relates how the Infanta arranged for herself to be taught how to rockclimb on the rock faces that formed the foundation of the castle. She had encouraged a young member of the military security contingent to take her for a lesson but did not plan her mother's response when she was seen descending the castle wall unexpectedly from the outside. Her mother, thinking that Isabella was ''escaping" and running away fainted on the spot. The Dowager Princess Cataljone, their mother, was rarely seen in public and the girls, never. Isabella however later at the age of 25 insisted on representing the family after she had ventured out into the world and even graduated from university. Her sister the Queen, remained under strict security until 2011 but Isabella did an amazing job as the face of the monarchy. She was responsible for initially coaxing her mother out of her fearful self-exile.

Upon mounting the public stage around 2006, the Infanta immediatly faced the challenge of restoring the public's waning confidence in the ''invisible" Royal Family of Hispania. She set about patronizing charities concerned with diabetes as she herself suffers from it and also got very involved with sport promotion and healthy living campaigns. Isabella herself is an ardent tennis player and became very involved with the Hispanian Tennis Trophy, held annually in the capital. She is currently the head of the Olympics Committee of Hispania.

Infanta Isabella (at right) with her cousin, the Duchess of Aragon (far left) at a movie premiere in early 2009, just before her wedding.

In Dec 2009, the wedding of the Infanta and Sir Michael Jennings became the first greatly publized event after the Imperial Ball of Prince Christian Victor. It was also the first Royal wedding to received international attention since the Revolution. Sir Michael Jennings is the younger brother of the Duke of Marlborough. He changed his citizenship to Hispania and as such lost all his inherited titles and honour but was granted the title of Duke of Toledo in his own right by the Queen of Hispania. The couple has a young son and daughter but keep their family life strictly out of the media glare. Her Highness Infanta Gabriella and His Highness Infante Fernando are twins and we will only be lucky enough to get to know them once they come of age. Isabella and her husband both have Hispania's highest Knighthood in the Order of the Triad and as such sit on the Queen's High Governing Council.

Her Royal Highness Infanta Isabella of Hispania and His Grace the Duke of Toledo on their wedding day.

Since 2011 after working for years behind the scenes, Queen Maria at age 39 has properly taken responsibility for representing her country and family publicly. Security has relaxed enough for Royals all over the world to breathe the fresh air of popularity again. Conversely, the pioneering Infanta has retreated more from the limelight, allowing her sister to bask in the glory while she and Don Miguel focus more on their family. She will however always be ready to do her duty for her Queen, country and charity commitments. She is quoted to have said: ''It is not the crown or spotlight that draws me. It is to take joy, to where it lacks." We wish her all the best.

Infanta Isabella with her sister and husband at the 2011 Christmas Ball.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

What's Up Wednesday (Duke of Swann Flamenco)

In this week's current events instalment I'd like to share about my own special hobby. As a ruling monarch I don't get much time to myself but one passion will not be neglected and that is Flamenco. Every week I go to Chiquetas School of Spanish Dancing to express my desire for dance and its accompanying discipline. Last week some much needed rounding off was needed for my upcoming exam and the possible performance with the Countess De Lumbre.

This is Madame Colleen the Duke of Swann's private Flamenco and Spanish Dance instructor. Her company of professional dancers perform all over the country and they can be booked for a performance at +27731505528. Here she demonstrates the stance she requires from her Royal student.

His Royal Highness takes up position for his lesson to begin.

Then the Duke changes to what is refered to as fifth position and Madame Colleen brings her hand to her hip holding her skirt.

Preparing to do the dance called the "Paso".

The various traditional dances may require the use of many "props" like hats and shawls. Others include fans, and hankerchiefs. Men may also use canes or capes. His Royal Highness has even danced with a sword.

Various hand held precussion instruments can be used in Spanish Dance. Among these are maraccas and finger symbals but the most characteristic and  famous are the castanettes. These are also the favourite of the Duke of Swann and he has become exceptional at the skill.

Taking instruction in castanettes.

While one of the other students quikely polishes some foot work called "Zapateado", the Duke of Swann repeates his moves before the lesson is continued in partners for the "Sevillanas"dance.
We look forward to the end of the year when we might do a performance for charity with the Countess De Lumbre. Regardless of that, this hobby will never cease for the Duke of Swann as it has been a childhood dream and now is the time to maximise it.


For more info on the Chiquita Scool of Spanish Dance reference the phone number +27731505528 in the first photo above or befriend Madame Coleen on Facebook.


For more visit the Facebook page:


Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (New Syldavian Emeralds)

I am truly grateful and extremely happy to be able to work from a proper and new computer. It is awful to have your files in contingency places and not being able to organize as you see fit because you know its only temporary. So we are off to a bit of a slow start today as things are still settling into what will become a new routine.

We have discussed sapphires for three weeks and we also had a series focusing on rubies a bit before that. It is tradtionally accepted that there are 5 "major"gemstones in the making of jewellery. They are prized for their beauty and rarity and are also considered the most expensive common stones available. These are the ruby, sapphire, emerald, diamond and pearl. We will embark today on a three week series on some of the emerald jewellery in the Royal collections. Perhaps it would be interesting to begin with a "new" aquisition in the Von Bismarck Collection.

We discussed the entire Von Bismarck Collection and the Crown Jewels of Syldavia in the weeks preceding the Syldavian restoration. Yet at the Annual Knights Meeting two weeks ago, Queen Maxima wore a tiara and earings that has never been documented in the context of her family or the Von Bismarcks or the Syldavian historical jewels.

We can see the new emeralds worn here at the Knights Meeting.

The set is not modern and we speculate its age by virtue of its design to be at least late 19th Century. The rather large pear cut emeralds are set in a tiara and earrings that match in an Imperial Ruskian style. The office of King Nikolas III has confirmed that the set was given to Queen Maxima by her family as a personal gift celebrating the Syldavian Restoration. The King's office added that the set seen at the Knights Meeting was completed by an additional purchase by the King, of a necklace. Thus for future reference we have decided to name this the Hanoverian Gift Parure.

Queen Maxima wears the full set for the State Visit of Lady Arcwhite last week.

 It is clear from the design of the necklace that it is not part of the original set. The styles are at least of a similar era and as such do match when worn together. The origin of the set remains unknown. Considering Queen Maxima's Family connections through her grandmother's Ruskian origins one could speculate that the tiara's Ruskian style might belie it coming from a distant cousin through purchase or inheritance. The gift however remains poingnant in that the green emeralds compliment the national colours of  Syldavia. The story of this tiara and its sudden appearance on the public stage shows that one never knows what lay hidden in the Royal vaults. For generations one can attempt to catalogue a collection, thinking you know its entirety and then a sudden surprise makes you wonder in amazement. We look forward to seeing these emeralds shine at many more events to come, so look out for it and other jewellery discussed in previous posts.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Official Royal Statement

His Royal Highness the Duke of Swann has commanded the following statement to be issued.

To all the followers and fans of this blog.

It is with great joy that we announce the final transition from the auxiliary computer base we have been using to the new and upgraded computer facility. Since the EMP attack on the Principality of Swann three weeks ago, most of the digital and internet requirements of our news network and this blog has been run from an emergency military base set up in an underground parking lot. Through the grace of God and diligent hard work we have continued our obligations but also worked towards eventual restoration. This has now finally arrived. Recently we received the necessary hardware through a kind donation from a friend of the Royal Family of Swann which fast-tracked the repairs in order to be completed today, rather than the expected deadline of end July.

The only sad news is that today's "Memory Monday" installment has now been delayed due to final set-up and logistics but normal posting will resume from tomorrow. We thank God for His goodness and our friend for his kind contribution.

On behalf of His Royal Highness the Duke of Swann -
Lord Charles Jennings, Lord High Chancellor to the Principality of Swann.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Fascinating Fridays (Styles of Address)

Another Fascinating Friday, discussing something technical about Royalty. I do try my best to keep it stimulating while not compromising the information. So here we go today with a continuance on my "lecture" on Royal Titles. Today we discuss how to address who.

First up we need to understand that "form of address" is called a "style". This is an official institution that is sanctioned by international treaties of agreement and as such becomes International Law. Styles can only be granted along with titles by the Royal heads of state of monarchies or in some other archaic instances by democratic heads of state . These styles are as follow;

An anointed head of state gains the style of, Your Majesty. This applies at present to the Queen of Hispania, the Queen of Normandia and the King and Queen of Syldavia.
If he ranks as an Emperor, Your Imperial Majesty. This applies by courtesy to Empress Crystobel only. 

Ruling Princes have varying styles depending mostly on local custom but general consensus grants them, Your Royal Highness. This applies to the Grand Duke of Hanoveria and the Duke of Swann.
In the case of ruling Grand Dukes it is rare but still correct to use, Your Grand Ducal Highness but this has fallen out of favour and is now only used in the unique instances of the Grand Duke of Serbieski and the Grand Duke of Reichenthal, who do not rule per se.
In the unique case the Grand Princess of Wallachia has the style of  Your Serene Highness even though she ranks equal to a ruling Prince with the style Your Royal Highness. This is purely due to historical tradition of the region.
Ruling Counts Palatine are styled, Your Illustrious Highness. This would be applicable to the Count of Bo'Hemia in the new Kingdom of Syldavia. 

It is appropriate to address a married couple of the same style as "Their" Royal Highnessess the Grand Duke  and Grand Duchess of Hanoveria. If the styles differ they have to be named separately.  

Next up we have the children of ruling monarchs.
All children of Kings are styled, Your Royal Highness even the heir apparent.
All children of Emperors are styled, Your Imperial Highness. 
Some Kingdoms allow the grandchildren of monarchs to be styled, Your Royal Highness and others choose to differentiate them with the style, Your Highness only. 

The children of  ruling Princes are also styled, Your Royal Highness.
There grandchildren however are always Your Highness unless they are the heir apparent. 
In the case of Wallachia, the children are styled Your Highness only and in the case of the heir apparent is styled Your Serene Highness. 

Let's deal with the Nobility next. 
Noble Princes like the Youssopoffs also carry the style Your Serene Highness for the head of the family only. Their children have the style Your Highness.
Dukes are always styled Your Grace.
Everything below a Duke is styled, Your Lordship.
Their children are styled, the Honourable.
Hispania, Normandia and Syldavia style all their nobility below a Duke as, Your Excellency.
In Hispania the children of Nobles and indeed all Nobles and even Royalty may be referred
 to a Don as an across the board style.
In Syldavia and Normandia the children of Nobles are styled, Highborn.

Her Royal Highness Princess Isabella of Hispania and her husband His Grace the Duke of Toledo.

Arcwhite as no styles of address for their ruler or Nobility. Lady Arcwhite is just commonly referred to as My Lady and the same goes for all Nobility. She was given the style Your Illustrious Highness by common consensus of all the other monarchies but has refused it and has never used it. She is reputed to hate it and apparently finds it demeaning. 

An Interesting note is that if a woman marries a man of a "higher" style, she gains it by courtesy of marriage. So Her Royal Highness Princess Maxima of Hanoveria became Her Majesty Queen Maxima of Syldavia. However if the wife has a higher style by birth she retains it followed by her new title. Her Royal Highness Princess Kirsten of Hanoveria thus became Her Royal Highness the Princess Youssopoff instead of Her Serene Highness as it would have been otherwise. 

Standard procedure when addressing someone with a title is to use the style upon greeting, then to switch to "sir" or "ma'am" accordingly. Once the conversation is over one ends it with a final farewell or thank you using the style for the second and last time. 

There is a unique form of address reserved for the theoretical title of Holy Emperor and that is, His Supreme Majesty. This style was only claimed once by the Medieval Emperor Christian the Great. It has never been used since. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

"To be or not to be" Thursday (Countess de Lumbre)

Today we profile a person of contrasts, conviction and passion. She is famous for her beauty, her talent at dancing and for her uncanny resemblance to the Queen of Hispania. She hardly ever attends state functions preferring to focus on her more practical responsibilities but isn’t beyond dressing to the hilt when the occasion demands it.

Her Excellency Donna Maria Rosario de Lumbre, Contessa De Lumbre is the wife of The Comte De Lumbre. Married in April 2011 and from humble origins the Countess is an acclaimed Flamenco dancer and has continued her love and now patronage of this particular art form. The Hispanian monarchy from which her husband derives his noble title, survived the Bloody Revolution of 1996. Thus the De Lumbre family has continued in their responsibilities and lifestyles uninterrupted and unscathed except for extended family abroad being affected. It did however leave an unsettling fear of revolution within the Hispanian monarchy.

Today at age 35, the Countess works alongside her husband on his extensive wine and olive oil producing farms. Owner of several castles the family has many obligations toward the International Heritage Trust and fulfills them by managing most of the properties as museums and not just as private residences. The Countess, a lay scholar of medieval history, takes pride in her role as custodian of the castles and their historic art treasures. She attempts also to spend as much time as possible in performing Flamenco but only to raise money for charities.

Animal abuse takes high priority with Donna Maria who grew up hating the violent side and death associated with Bull fighting. At age 11 her uncle sold a bull to the ring not knowing that the young Maria had taken a liking to it in preceding months often visiting its pastures to look at it and sketch it. Its horrific death affected her deeply. Upon becoming a Countess she chose to use her influence and started a national campaign to eradicate all harm being caused to bulls in the ring. Controversy has obviously been sparked as traditionalists refuse to compromise ancient traditions in the face of total bans. The Countess a passionate Spaniard, hopes to find a middle path and proposes an “American Rodeo” style Bull fight were artistic performance of the matador is the goal rather than the torture and death of an innocent animal. She is currently petitioning Queen Maria of Hispania to avert total bans in favour of her proposal. If her efforts become law she will go down in history as the lady who saved the matador and the bull at the same time. So, don’t mess with Donna Maria she will dance circles around you.

The Countess is due to do an Europan tour of Flamenco dancing to raise awareness of her campaign petitioning for the new Bull fighting law. The tour is set to start in the Principality of Swann towards the end of the year with the Duke of Swann’s special support.

 The Countess de Lumbre wearing a Matador fusion Flamenco dress designed for her performances by Madame Frumsetta. She also wears solid 9ct yellow gold hoop earrings designed by the Duke of Swann's Jewellery Workshops. We can see how she resembles the Queen of Hispania almost like a twin sister. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What's Up Wednesday (Arcwhite State Tour)

In our current news slot today we will discuss last week's State Tour of Lady Arcwhite. The Island nation of Arcwhite decided to make the diplomatic move of acknowledging the two newly restored monarchies of  Normandia and Syldavia. As lady Arcwhite couldn't attend the Investiture Ceremonies due to her being a head of state equal in rank to a King, she felt it necessary to make state visits to the respective countries.  

A state visit is a government sanctioned and extremely official visit from one country to show goodwill to another. It normally involves the visiting nation sending its head of state in full official state and ceremonial capacity to be received in the same manner on the soil by the hosting nation. The function is to show goodwill, to exchange symbolic gifts, to tour relevant sites and to open talks of collaboration, trade and support between various departments. On this blog we will obviously focus more on the glamour surrounding the nitty-gritty. 

Lady Arcwhite is not just the ceremonial head of her country but as a veritable despot holds absolute power. A visit from the actual ruler of a country requires great planning, security and protocol. She took a week long tour starting on Monday from her capital city of  Glacialle and was received with full pomp in Normandia. She was welcomed at the airport by Queen Gloria I's husband, the prince of Northwold and after a short press conference was taken to the Royal Palace to settle down before the evening's state banquet held in her honour. The Kingdom of Normandia is a close neighbour logistically of the Islands of Arcwhite and the primary trade between the two nations is based on off-shore oil, fishing and technologies. Normandia is the world leader in cellphone manufacture and as such hold interest for Arcwhite's more disadvantaged communication's industry. 

The Arcwhite, characteristically white, State Jet arriving in Normandia in the late afternoon last week Monday.

Here we see the two main persons of the state visit dressed in their finery for the banquet. We have come to expect unquestionable style from Lady Arcwhite. Here she is at left wearing her stunning brown and yellow diamond imperial kokoshnik and a sleek gunmetal grey velvet dress from an unknown designer. Queen Gloria wears Barbie International and a never-before-seen emerald necklace and her historic Franconian Diadem.

To the left is Drielle Mormaer, the niece of Lady Arcwhite and one of the five "Ladies of the White Robe". These ladies are an exclusive order of servants/proteges to the ruler of Arcwhite. These are groomed while they serve their mistress until one day the new Lady Arcwhite is selected from their ranks. It is Lady Drielle's first public foray in an official capacity. To the far right is the husband of Queen Gloria, the Prince of Northwold. The visit to Normandia lasted for 2days and then the entourage left for the Kingdom of Syldavia.

The white state limousine of Lady Arcwhite, that travels in the Boeing with her arrives at Ploch Palace in Syldavia. She was welcomed at the airport by Queen Maxima who drove with her followed by a police escort until they reached the palace gates. It is common protocol to have a visiting head of state stay in the official residence of the hosting nation's counterpart. Lady Arcwhite enjoyed the hospitality of the two palaces of the kingdoms she visited for the duration of her stay. A state banquet is also common practice and Syldavia didn't hold back on the glamour.

Lady Arcwhite, glorious in pink from Barbie International and her huge diamond tiara, standing next to the newly restored King Nikolas III of Syldavia.

The official guests just before they entered the state banquet hall where more than fifty dignitaries were ready to enjoy the meal. Queen Maxima also chose "new" emeralds like Queen Gloria. More on these jewels will be discussed on a Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday slot.

Which of the evening gowns is your favourite pick from this tour?

Lady Arcwhite made a point to visit her old friend the Grand Duke of Serbieski who spent a lot of his years in exile living in Arcwhite. This was part of her official itinerary as well as a personal visit. The Serbieski coastline provides a vast trading opportunity between the nations of Syldavia and Arcwhite. Found only two miles off-shore are Europa's largest underwater source of natural gas. The Grand Duke who is campaigning towards being elected governor of the Province of Serbieski in next months local elections, knows that negotiating a successful trade agreement would only bolster his popularity.

The Grand Duchess Davina, Lady Arcwhite and the Grand Duke of Serbieski at the Natural Gas Summit in Serbieski on the last day of Lady Arcwhite's State Tour.

This week's "Mine" magazine did not hold back in singing its owner's praises in its report on the landslide tour. Friend or enemy? Charismatic leader or despotic tyrant? There is apparently no such thing as bad publicity. Lady Arcwhite is here to stay and to make an indelible mark. Let's just hope it is not just, for her own good. Regardless, it will at least be an extremely stylish mark.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesdays (The Alexander III Sapphire Parure)

We are still on the topic of sapphires this week. Next week we will start a short series on the third gem in the top 5 major gems, namely emeralds. Today's set of jewellery has had a strange story by virtue of provenance and history. Let's all keep our heads as we follow the interesting path blazed by the Alexander III Sapphire Parure. 

Tzar Alexander III of Ruskiana is the long deceased  great-great grandfather of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna the current pretender to the Ruskian throne. His was a title and court also in pretense as his brother was the last real Tzar of Ruskiana. Tzar Ivan X and his family were killed by rebels during the aftermath of the Great War. Alexander III succeeded him but was never crowned. He in turn was killed while fleeing the country a few months later with his young family. His son and heir and the rest were saved by Tzar Alexander giving his life in order to create a diversion for the pursuing rebels. Many pieces of family jewels also survived this escape one of which was the Parure of Sapphires that Alexander ordered for his wife in the heyday of the Ruskian Imperial Court. The full parure employed the then very modern stone cut called "baguette cut" for the sapphires. These rectangular sapphires were accented by very large round cut diamonds. Legend has it that the necklace saved the life of Grand Duchess Xenia's grandfather Nicholas who was a young boy at the time. The necklace was sown into the lining of his jacket and a bullet from the rebels ricochet off it as they shot at the fleeing limousine.

Her Imperial Majesty Tzarina Feodorovna, wife of Tzar Alexander III wearing the sapphires in this state portrait from before the Great War.

This is where the story becomes interesting, as if it isn't enough so already. The tiara passed to Nicholas II who had become Tzar d'jour in exile. He left it to his son, who was murdered in the Bloody Revolution of 1996 while living in exile in the Empire of Scot Britania. As the father of Xenia he left the tiara and the remaining jewels to her and her sister who escaped with their lives to South Americania. Wisely the entire collection of jewels was all kept in a safety deposit box in the Big Apple in Americania.

Grand Duchess Xenia wears the tiara here in 2009 combined with diamond jewellery from the Ruskian Imperial Collection.

The necklace passed to Tzar Nicholas II's younger sister Grand Duchess Anna, who left it to her daughter who married the last King of Serbieski. They left it to their son who let his wife wear it on her wedding day as "something blue". We know the couple today as the mediatized Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Serbieski in the restored Kingdom of Syldavia.

Lady Davina Cartwright wears the necklace on the day of her marriage to the Prince Karageorgevich who became the Grand Duke of Serbieski.

The earrings passed to the youngest daughter of Alexander III, Grand Duchess Tatiana. Please remember that there was a vast amount of other jewels to be inherited, so the youngest wasn't short changed. For some reason, perhaps for luck, as sapphires are seen as a blessed gem symbolically, the parure was split between the siblings. Tatiana however was not as lucky as the sapphires should have made her. During a brief affair with the philandering Crown Prince Victor of Britania she lost the earrings in a card game to her lover. This was the same Prince who eventually abdicated the throne to marry a divorcee. In malice for leaving him, he officially entered the earrings into the Crown Jewel Collection of Britannia rather than returning it to her. He knew that when a piece of jewellery is added to the collection, by law it may never be removed. She never forgave him and the controversial earrings are still part of that collection which became the Imperial Crown Jewel Collection of the United Empire of Scot-Britania. Those jewels are in trust for the Crown Prince Imperial and his descendants and as such may never be sold.

Royals gather for the massive official Royal Family Portrait in 2011. In the front right we can see the Crown Princess Imperial wearing the earrings as part of the spectacular Imperial Britanian Sapphires.

This is not where the story ends however. In the early days of 2012, the Prince Karageorgevich received the confirmation of the restoration of the Kingdom of Syldavia and his assumption of the title of Grand Duke of Serbieski. To raise much needed cash to fund various obligations towards these events he sold the necklace. The private sale took place in April and the buyer was none other than Grand Duchess Xenia of Ruskiana. The necklace has returned to its tiara albeit not to its homeland as yet. There is little to no hope that the earrings will ever return unfortunately.

Grand Duchess Xenia wore the set to the Annual Knight's Meeting last week. It was a historic moment and poignantly spoke of  the subtleties that any restoration has on the heart of man.

I for one am glad that this set has been at least nominally restored and that the earrings are not entirely lost to history, like many other grand pieces are.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Memory Monday (Christmas Ball 2010)

Good morning from a very cold Principality of Swann. I felt a bit weird about my blog lately, not knowing where it is going etc. I suppose the fact is that we do these things primarily just to express ourselves and one shouldn't be motivated by what others do or say. So I decided to finally post on one of the tipping point events in the doll universe. This event set the president for all future events as it was the tour-d-force that finally convinced me that Royalty was back and that the Revolution of 1996 lost all its power.

The Christmas Ball of 2010 was unique in the sense that it rekindled the old tradition of Royalty gathering over the festive season to celebrate. In 2009 it was merely the direct relations of the Crown Prince Imperial who gathered privately as a family but in 2010 "everybody" was invited. This event was to be the largest gathering of Royals since before the revolution. Most Royals where increasing in their public exposure and Christmas as a season of goodwill lent a sense of security that allowed more Royals than ever to "show face" and party in glamorous style. 

The ball was hosted by the Grand Duke of Hanoveria in the state ball room of the Georgiana Palace. It was considered by the Hanoverian people to be a full state function that gave great prestige to their country and it did just that as many reigning monarchs gathered together for the first time in over 14years. That has now become a more common reality but in 2010 it was a veritable miracle. 

The state ball room in the Georgiana Palace stands ready to receive its guests. 

First to arrive was the Prince and Princess Karageorgevich, now the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Serbieski.

The D'Rothchild baronial family. 

The Baron D'Rothchild greets Infanta Isabella and Don Miguel of Hispania. In the background we see the Dowager Countess Cartwright.

The Duchess of Aragon and her daughter Donna Hernanda y Aragon boisterously greet Infanta Isabella upon their arrival. The Duchess of Aragon wears the famous Perigrina Pearl in her tiara. 

Princess Maxima, the very new Countess von Bismarck arrived alone as her husband was off on extended business in the Republic of Canadium. I think that this dress was one of the more "questionable" style choices of Princess Maxima's life. 

Wearing the huge Tzar Nicholas Pink Diamond tiara, Grand Duchess Xenia of Ruskiana looked very regal. 

Princess Kirsten of Hanoveria.

The Duchess of Roswind was followed by the Earl Cartwright and Prince Dillon of Swann. Then the major Royals began to arrive. Those who didn't attend this Ball included, the Count von Bismarck, Prince Felix Youssopoff, the D'Baquemme family, the Margravine of Montrose, Arch Duke Von FulcoD'Este, the Reichenthal Royals, the Princess of Wallachia and some others.

Princess Augusta wearing stylish faux animal fur and an exceptional blue pearl necklace with matching earrings.

The reigning Grand Ducal couple of Hanoveria. Spot the famous jewels. 

Gloria Van der Bilt wearing the Order of the Lake in anticipation of the possibility of becoming Queen of Normandia. She also had a new tiara made in case she required a greater variety of jewellery. She wears it here for the first time and her assumption was justified less than a year later. 

Queen Maria I of Hispania was represented officially by her mother, the Dowager Princess of Cataljone seen here wearing an amazing gold dress and Ruby parure. 

The Empress Crystobel of the United Empire of Scot-Britania arrived on the arm of her nephew, the Duke of Swann. 

With trumpeted fanfare, the guests of honour, The Crown Prince Imperial and Crown Princess Imperial, arrived fresh from their honeymoon and looking positively radiant and appropriately majestic. Princess Odeliah wore the newly acquired D'Pont du Lac Sapphires for the first time with an amazing lilac ball gown. 

It was obvious that not all invited guests would make it as attendance wasn't diplomatically required. Royal protocol requires the highest ranking guests to arrive last and the Prince Imperial was ready to take up position to make his speech at  the first official Christmas Ball. 

But as the Crown Prince Imperial was about to start, a commotion at the doors to the ball room was followed by the doors almost bursting open. 

In breech of protocol, by arriving last, this guest was invited but at this stage completely unexpected. Was it a premeditated strategy? Was it a subtle hint that she was technically the most important or just a forgivable mistake in time management?

This is the Lady Arcwhite and if first impressions last, this one was going to last a thousand years. She had successfully focused the whole event and the media coverage of it, on herself. The fact that she wore the official tiara attached to her office as ruler of Arcwhite was also a subtle hint and cherry on this cake that went flying in the face of the establishment.

The Duke of Swann stepped forward to break the awkward silence of the crowd by greeting the otherwise official and important guest. Lady Arcwhite chose to bowl the assembly of Royal guests over with a spectacular gown by Barbie International. 

The Crown Prince Imperial made his speech to the now complete assembly and declared the dance floor open. 

The Crown Prince Imperial couple opened the dance floor to "Careless Whisper" by George Michael.

Later the Duke of Swann enjoyed a dance with the "lady of the night". This was very interesting as the two countries represented are diplomatically frigid. 

Empress Crystobel  having a chat with the Lady Arcwhite. One wonders what was said.

The Crown Prince Imperial poses with his close family for a portrait. 

The night was a huge success and reestablished the old tradition of the Christmas Ball. However that is not what this night will be remembered for, it will go down in history as the day Lady Arcwhite stepped back into the International arena since the 1996 Revolution. I cannot help but feel a shudder of excitement or is it apprehension?